June 27, ASRC

Delivered by Ambassador Steffen Kongstad at the Permanent Council Vienna, 25. July 2018


Thank you Mr. Chair,

Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, Let me start with thanking the Austrian Chairmanship and the OSCE Secretariat for organising this year’s Annual Security Review Conference.  We appreciate this opportunity to again exchange views on European security in what we believe is one of the Organization’s most important arenas for open, constructive and inclusive dialogue.  In today’s security environment, where we face both traditional and new kinds of threats, the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security is more relevant than ever. We appreciate therefore that the ASRC builds on the efforts of both the Forum for Security Co-operation and the Security Committee and reviews the entire spectrum of security issues in the first dimension.  Traditional politico-military threats are not the only security challenges we face today.  Rather, Europe is exposed to multiple security challenges that range from instability and armed conflict to deprivation of human rights, to transnational threats as violent extremism and terrorism, organized crime and trafficking in arms, drugs and human beings.  These are all issues with prominence on the OSCE agenda.   

Mr. Chair,

The agenda before us is manifold.  We welcome a discussion on transnational threats on Thursday.  As chair of the Security Committee, we have tried to reflect the priorities of the Austrian chairmanship in the work programme of the committee. During the first half year we have covered topics related to violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism, security sector governance and reform, cyber security, border management and security, all with a cross-cutting gender perspective. Our discussions have showed that the OSCE has the most to contribute when it fully uses its comprehensive approach to security in a cross-dimensional manner.  When it comes to Violent Extremism and Radicalisation that lead to Terrorism, this means that the OSCE is most relevant in the areas of prevention and rehabilitation, as well as in promoting better information exchange between states. 

Mr. Chair,

An obvious issue to discuss in this forum is the situation in Ukraine and how the situation affects security and stability in the wider OSCE region.  The crisis in and around Ukraine has demonstrated the dangerous and fatal consequences that follow when the fundamental principles of the OSCE are violated.  We look forward to the dialogue on this issue later today.  We also expect exchange of views on the protracted conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Nagorno-Karabakh.  These unresolved conflicts have been allowed to go on for too long.  One important lesson from these conflicts is that we need to strengthen the OSCE’s conflict prevention capacities.  We must acknowledge the importance of preventing conflicts rather than trying to manage them.  We must continue to develop our conflict cycle toolbox – from conflict prevention to response capacity.    

Mr. Chair,

We look forward to the special session on Structured Dialogue tomorrow.  We actively support the OSCE Structured Dialogue. It should be used to increase mutual understanding in the security domain.  We acknowledge that it might take time before the structured dialogue can bring concrete results, but trying to identify common concerns and how to approach them is in itself important in today’s security environment.  We should allow the structured dialogue to develop incrementally and to have in-depth discussions on issues of common interest without any pre-defined end results.  We see the structured dialogue as an independent political process within the OSCE framework among participating states.  Our objective should be enhanced trust and predictability among all states through transparency and information exchange in order to minimise risks.   

Finally Mr. Chair,

The gender perspective and gender equality should be integrated into all our deliberations and actions.  The Gender Review Conference two weeks ago showed that the OSCE is facing challenges in implementing gender related commitments, especially in the first dimension.  We need to strengthen implementation of the Gender Action Plan from 2004 as well as obligations from UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security, which also include obligations for regional organisations to step up their efforts.  The gender perspective should be an integral part of the ASRC. We also find that we as participating states to a larger degree could benefit from including the expertise and experience of civil society.  Where appropriate civil society participation should be facilitated. Against this backdrop, Mr. Chair, we indeed look forward to stimulating and productive exchanges over the coming days and hopefully exchange of constructive approaches to the challenges our region is facing.   

Thank you.


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